Inclined to Impress

Taking one material — brick— as a starting point, A+T Associates spin out a contemporary living environment that resonates with Indianness in Vadodara.

Text: Rupali Sebastian
Photographs: Tejas Shah, courtesy A+T Associates

The front facade and the compound wall see the use of exposed brick as the material was a client specification. On the elevation, this organic expanse is interrupted by a swathe of ochre Viroc — which also conceals the main door. The railings of the terrace are reminiscent of India jaalis.

Sited on a 4,750-square-foot plot located in a posh area of Vadodara, 45* Brick House portrays Indian contemporary aesthetics beautifully. And much of the Indianness can be attributed to exposed brick — the use of which was a one-point brief given by the client. Vadodara-based A+T Associates, which was charged with creating the architecture and designing the interiors, decided to interpret this requirement with a little twist — quite literally. “We wanted to change and experiment with the typical brick cladding technique and created a geometric pattern in bricks itself. All the bricks have been cladded at a 45-degree angle with a change in all directions,” state architects Tanvi Rajpurohit and Archis Patel, co-founders and principals of A+T Associates. “It was a big challenge… the toughest thing was to turn those angled bricks into other surfaces. Many trials and sampling had to be done to achieve the perfect turning.”

Before crossing that bridge, however, the architects needed to tackle the entrance. “When we visited the site for the first time, we realized that the access needed a good solution as the road was quite narrow,” recalls Tanvi. The answer to this went hand-in-hand with the clarification of the elevation. The house is north-facing so the west side is largely closed, while the openings and the garden are located on the eastern side — so home-owners can enjoy the morning light while seated outdoors, in a customized pergola rendered from material sourced from Luna Woods.

The L-shaped wall of windows gets abundant light into the living room — which overlooks its own landscaped area.

(The garden has two accesses: one from the parking itself, and the other from the dining space of the house.) On the entrance facade, the two large expanses of exposed bricks were punctuated by a band of ochre yellow Viroc (a brand of composite material made with pine wood particles and cement), with intriguing self-art. The smart touch is, that this band also includes the main door — which you won’t notice until you step into the premises. “According to us, this is the best material use in this project,” states Archis.

The organization of the various functions of the home takes into account a deliberate segregation of public and private spaces. The ground floor includes the formal living, kitchen, dining area, pooja room, parent’s bedroom, common bathroom and staircase area. All the primary rooms — the living, kitchen/dining and the bedroom — overlook green pockets. The master bedroom and kids’ room with attached dressing and bath space, guest bedroom with office space and home theatre are accommodated on the first floor, while the second floor has an activity area with a terrace garden.

The dining area abuts the entrance foyer, and is separated from it by a metal screen. The perforated partition helps get natural light into the space.

The interiors speak a modern contemporary and minimalistic language. The explicit requirements were there too: spaciousness, crispness, natural light. The look needed to be upbeat and timeless, yet refreshingly modernistic. “Considering minimalism as our design philosophy, our design approach was to play with the emptiness. A strong thematic continuity underlies its expressions along with the variations in each space that brings about enriched diversity in experiential qualities,” say the alumni of APIED, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat. A telling example of the architects’ contemporary approach is the clean-lined furniture — most of which has been custom-designed on site; and a few pieces have been sourced from brands such as Kuka and Natuzzi.

Wood rules the material palette. Apart from its aesthetic advantages, the architects found its receptiveness to various finishes attractive. “It can be painted or stained… and is easy to revitalize,” says the duo. “Wood is also environment-friendly and a fantastic insulator, so larger pieces may be able to assist in reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling your building.”

A striking graphically composed wall, featuring MDF strips, is the highlight of this bedroom. It is graced by wall art by artist Zafar Kolkata.

Being keen on green, Tanvi and Archis also ensured that the house was designed to welcome as much natural light as possible. “We are in love with it,” they exult. “We generally believe in not overdoing artificial lighting because our approach is very sustainable in this matter.”

45* Brick House is a good example of what can be achieved when there is faith between the client and his architect; clarity of vision; and the desire to give it your best. As Tanvi and Archis say: “The project may have involved a lot of hard work but when you get the desired results, it all seems to be worth it in the end.”

To create a contemporary home with an Indian heart, that would be spacious, crisp and full of natural light.

Floor: Makrana White Indian marble
Walls: Exposed brick cladding

Project: 45* Brick House
Location: Vadodara
Area: 4,750 sq ft
Principal architects and designers: Archis Patel and Tanvi Rajpurohit
Design team: Anjali Shah, Shrushti Vardiwale
Artist: Zafar Kolkata
Furniture: Kuka, Natuzzi
Automation: Control4 Smart Home Solutions from DTI AutomationAcoustics: Jignesh Khatiwala (Absolute Sound)
HVAC: Mitubishi